Albemarle volleyball completes unbeaten regular season

How tough is it to go unbeaten in the Commonwealth District?

You’re going to have to fight for every point. Every…last…point.

Albemarle’s volleyball team completed an unbeaten regular season Tuesday night with a 3-2 win in a see-saw game on the road against Colonial Forge, a squad with just one district loss coming into the game — at the hands of Albemarle.

“There were points where we were clicking but we played about as poor as we could play,” said Albemarle coach Mark Ragland. “And Colonial Forge played well.”

The win completes a 24-0 regular season, the first in school history.

The Patriots actually trailed in the decisive game five, squandering a 5-0 lead in that frame built on Jessica Block’s serving. Colonial Forge took a 6-5 advantage before Albemare righted the ship and battled back for a 15-11 victory and the match.

“I think, for some reason, they felt the pressure to win game five more than we did,” Ragland said.

Albemarle actually held a 2-0 lead in the match (winning games one and two 25-23 and 25-20), despite struggling early on with their passing, the Patriots biggest strength during their unbeaten run through the regular season that set a new school record for wins in a row. Block, the squad’s long-time setter, didn’t get an assist until one third of the way through the points in game one.

“We just weren’t getting it to her,” Ragland said. “We played about as tight as we can play tonight, it was a lot of scramble offense.”

The momentum started to shift in game two where Colonial Forge rallied after a 10 service point run from Hannah Deal threatened to put the game out of reach for the Eagles. Colonial Forge clawed back as Albemarle committed a series of unforced errors. Despite losing game two, it was clear Colonial Forge wasn’t going away. The Eagles won game three and four 25-23 to set up the pivotal game five. The game five victory secured an unbeaten regular season and gave Albemarle a big leg up in the postseason as they’ve already qualified for the Northwest Region tournament. A loss would’ve forced a one-game playoff with Colonial Forge for that berth. Albemarle also holds home-court advantage for the entire Commonwealth and Northwest tournaments.

Block finished with 34 assists and two aces on the night while Deal dominated at the service line with seven aces to go with her 10 kills. Sarah Woods and Chelsea Woodfolk also notched 10 kills on the night as the Patriots’ balanced front line helped steady the squad.

Lexi Brown, a junior, finished with eight kills and five blocks. Brown usually splits time at the rightside hitter spot with Savannah Morse, but with a flu bug running through the Albemare roster, Brown got the start and proved up to the task against the Eagles.

Albemarle will host a Commonwealth District quarterfinal Thursday night.